Alex and her family flew out this morning. I moved over to my parents hotel – Manior Victoria. We met up with my cousin, Bill Vincent and his wife and drove out to St Ann’s Cathedral. When you walk in they have piles of crutches from visitors who were healed here. We then had lunch and visited several of my Cousins Public Art Works.
Later I went back to “Roots” and then our final dinner before going back to our room and pack for the long journey back to Detroit.
Overall, this has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I am grateful to Skate Canada, the USFSA, and the ISU for allowing Alex and I to participate.
I am taking a couple of days off and the start training for the US Championships the 4th week of January. Will post pictures when I get home
Sunday, December 11th
What a really beautiful day. Went to mass at Notre-Dame Cathedral, then brunch at Le Chateau Frontenac with Alissa Czisny, Scott Moir and Charlie White. Today was Championship Free Dance Event. Our training partners at Detroit Skating Club are Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje and Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat. We also have know Maia & Alex Shibutani and Meryl Davis & Charlie White for many years, so I guess
you could say, we have four of our Idols competing today, so our hands will get worn out clapping.
All the Seniors skated clean and it was the Elite of the Elite, Crème de la Crème. The Exhibition was a blast and Nathalie & Fabian did their George of the Jungle show program. It was hilarious.
Later, in the evening ,we had our Closing Banquet at the Le Chateau Frontenac and it was really elegant. Jean Soulard, the Executive Chef
and his staff really outdid themselves taking care of us. The Hors D’Oeuvres tables and Ice Carvings were beautifully prepared and we danced all night. Most are leaving tomorrow morning, so I’m not sure how they will wake up. I am staying an extra day with my Mom & Dad to visit with relatives here in Quebec City.
Saturday, December 10th
Alex and I had a really fun time today. We had a great Free Dance and finished 4th overall. We wanted to get on the Podium, so will work on that for JW’s. I’ll have to talk to Angelika and Pasquale and find out why our Timing, Interpretation, and linking/connecting marks were so low. I personally thought our program exceeded in all these requirements. After skating, we all went out and had a celebration dinner with all our parents and Alex’s Grandma. Later, last night, after the Men’s and Pairs were completed, a group of us went out to a couple local pubs. Quebec City has two universities, but it’s the kind of town where everyone is young and having a good time. We were blessed to come here for our first JGP Final. Attached are a few photos from Old Town, Quebec City and a really cool picture of Alex and I off the ice, check out our timing.
Friday, December 9, 2011
We met “Santol”, pictured below, who was trained to be a Guide-dog for vision impaired children. Santol is now the ambassador for the Mira Foundation and the Hotel LeChateau Frontenac. Mira Foundation raises money to train about 150 guide dogs for children under 15 years of
age. You can e-mail Santol at firstname.lastname@example.org
My parents are staying about six blocks away at the Manior Victoria Hotel. This is their first Grand Prix Event and they drove all the way from Detroit . I had a chance to see them at our practice session today, and then Alex and I went back to the Frontenac and we had lunch with Charlie White and Scott Moir. Skate Canada is Hosting all of us skaters at the Frontenac and have a really nice private dining room for skaters, coaches, and officials to eat. It’s kind-of-the off season and each day more lights go up for Christmas (two weeks before “Quebecalambra Christmas Lights”. Yes it is permissible to say “Christmas”, or your religious preference here, as you can feel the presence of God as you walk around this beautiful city and listen to the church bells. We went to Notre-Dame de Quebec today.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
We skated first today because we were the last, in order of points (24), to qualify. I tripped a little on the first pattern of Cha Cha, so we were placed in 5th. The “pressure” was the most I have ever experienced, and ten minutes after we finished, I was already planning on the Free Dance. Words cannot describe how much I’m loving every minute of this. We went back to the Hotel with Nathalie & Fabian and were already discussing our plan of attack for the Free Dance, and trying to make the podium.
The Junior Season starts earlier than the Senior Season. We need to have a Short Dance and Free Dance ready for the annual Lake Placid International Ice Dance Competition the last weekend in July. The International Skating Union (ISU) doesn’t pick the Short Dance until right before Lake Placid. Then we are monitored and assigned to the various Junior Grand Prix Events that start the end of August. If you look at the weekly scores for the various JGP’s you will see that the teams improve every week, so the later Grand Prix Events can get you higher point totals. We started in Latvia with a third place finish and only 45.98 in the Short Dance and 72.20 in the Free Dance. Four weeks later in Innsbruck, Austria we improved and received a 55.48 in the Short Dance and 81.37 in the Free Dance, with two more weeks left before the JGP in Tallinn, Estonia was held. If I had not of tripped (51.59) we would have picked up 3 or 4 points in the Cha Cha Sequence 1 which would have us in third (55.59). Of course you could say the same thing about all the skaters. None of us got over level 2 on our Footwork, so go figure.
Back at hotel now, going to have dinner, pack the old snozolla with Vaseline, and go to bed.
Wednesday, December 7th
Today, we had a chance to walk around the Hotel and visit with the other competitors. I saw a couple of my idols, Meryl Davis & Charlie White and Maia & Alex Shibutani , tonight at dinner. Our DSC Ice Dancers all ate together (Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat; Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje; And Alex and I). Also saw Alissa Csizny and Jeremy Abbott, who arrived from Detroit later in the evening.
Quebec City is beautiful. Will get some pictures post soon. We are staying at the Chateau Frontenac and I am rooming with Josh Ferris. The LOC gave Alex her own room and she is snuggled up in bed watching her TV. My hotel room is nice but a little dry. I had pretty good nose bleed today during our first practice session. Nose bleeds, part of my Celtic Heritage. I have several aquariums at home for growing coral, so I guess I’m used to a little more humidity. Packed the old snozolla with Vaseline, so see what that does. I’ll find a cloth-pin or branding iron if it persists. Anyway, it was a good practice so we are set. One more practice tomorrow and then we compete our Short Dance tomorrow night.
Tuesday Morning, December 6th
Up early and at Detroit Skating Club by 8:00 AM. We had a great morning practice session and said goodbye to our training partners. Our Coach, Angelika Krylova, Alex, and I, drove to the airport and got the 1:45 PM Flight to Quebec City. We are very excited! The Skate Canada Officials met us at the Airport and assisted with getting transportation to our hotel – The Le Chateau Frontenac. I feel like I’m coming home
to my “Roots”. I have more relatives in Canada than I do in the United States. Very excited!
Peter Breen is our Team Physical Therapist. I was in my Mom’s Womb (She was 7 Months Pregnant) back in January, 1992, in Orlando, Florida, when Peter and his partner, Rachel Mayer, qualified for the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Peter Breen & Rachel Mayer were coached by Sandy Hess, and Sandy, a World and Olympic Coach, used to work with my father in Michigan. Liz Punsalan Swallow, one of our other coaches, finished the US Championships in 3rd in 1992, and had to wait two more years to go to Olympics in 1994.
No one knows this, but I have a distant cousin named Jo-Anne Borlase, Canadian Ice Dance Gold Medalist, who with her partner, Martin Smith, also from Canada, competed in Albertville in 1992. So did my coach/choreographer, Pasquale Camerlengo. (Trivia for Today).
Monday Morning, December 5th
Alex and I had our skates sharpened this morning, so we can break in the edges today and tomorrow before leaving for Quebec. Fred Martin is our Skate Technician http://www.fredsskatesharpening.com/ and a former ice-dancer so he knows what we need. Alex and I both are using the
lightweight Risport Stock Boots and we love them. I am very particular because I have an issue with my left ankle and the Risport provides the support I need but is also light enough that I can practice longer without tiring.
We will be competing against Victoria Sinitsina and Ruslan Zhiganshin from the Blue Bird FSC, Moscow, Russia. Alex and I competed against them at JGP Sheffield, England, last year and this year at JGP Innsbruck, Austria. We have worked hard and hope that we can overcome the 8 points they beat us with in the Free Dance for the Gold Medal. Last year, they finished 2nd behind the team of Ksenia Monko and Kirill
Khaliavin at the JGP Final so they have more experience than us. Our strength, is our strong skating skills and that we love to dance and are always pushing it to the edge of the envelope. If these other teams hold back, even a little, they may be in for a big surprise.
We got to skate against Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin in JGP Courchevel, France last year, but did not get to compete against them this year. We are not the same inexperienced team that we were in August, 2010. We also had the opportunity of skating against Maria Nusulia and Evgen Kholoniuk in both JGP Riga, Latvia, this year where they beat us, and at JGP Innsbruck Austria, where we returned the favor.
We feel really confident that the skating fans in the audience will enjoy our music selections for the Short Dance and the Free Dance. For the Cha Cha Congelado we are skating to “I Need To Know” by Marc Anthony and Mambo Number 8. It’s a fun, high energy program, and we cover
the entire ice surface.
Last Year, the International Skating Union (ISU) changed the rules and required that the Free Dance Music be “Uplifting” and express a
“Theme”. In 2010/11 we started off a piece by Eugen Doga but it was too slow, so we switched before Lake Placid to Edvin Marton’s “Dramatico” We were especially careful this year to stay away from Funeral Processionals and Imprisoned Opera Singers. Our free dance, is
choreographed by Pasquale Camerlengo, and if we perform the dance correctly, it takes you on a mythical journey where heart and mind cross the traditional boundaries of figure skating, and create, a truly uplifting experience. We are looking forward to having a good performance and making our fans proud of us.
Sunday Afternoon, December 4th
While in Quebec City my family and I are going to Musée de la Civilization to see an exhibit called “Encounter with the First Nations”. My ancestry on my Dad’s side includes many relatives, they live in Nova Scotia. “My Grandmother, Marie Joan Prendergast, was born in New Waterford, Nova Scotia. Her grandparents were among the original settlers of Bras D’or, Nova Scotia. Back in 1823, Patrick Prendergast , who was from County Wexford, Ireland, received a tract of land for his service with the British Army “King’s Royal Irish Light Dragoons” . When Patrick arrived in Nova Scotia, a Captain Francis LeJeune, who was a refuge from Napoleon’s Army, was living on the tract of land. Patrick stayed with the Captain’s family, and married his daughter, Mary Ann LeJeune. Patrick and Mary Ann lived in the (First Nation) Bras d’Or Indian Village, and helped to build the first Catholic Church in Bras D’or.
In 1917, my Grandfather, Denis Prendergast, while serving in the Canadian Army, was blinded for several months, by mustard gas, at the famous Battle of Passchendaele, in Belgium. After World War I, he worked as a mine inspector and mine manager near Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The “First Nations” includes the Aborginal Peoples of the Abenakis, Algonquins, Atikamekw, Crees, Hurons-Wendat, Inuit, Malecites, Micmacs, Innu, Mohawks, and Naskapis. Part of my ancestry is “MicMac” from the band at LittleBras D’or Village in Nova Scotia. My father is just learning about his new found family members. It has been really exciting learning about all my new relatives I never knew existed.
Sunday Morning, December 4th
I am really excited and feel like I’m coming home to my “Roots”. I actually have more relatives in Canada than I do in the United States.
Very excited! I’ll be meeting my Cousin, William James Bill Vincent, who is an artist in Quebec City. When my parents, arrive, we will be going to the CLSC La Source (Nord) 791, rue Sherwood, Charlesbourg (Suburb of Quebec City). The three story mural below is in the hospital lobby and was created by my cousin. In the mural is my Great, Great Grandmother Maggie B. (Chisholm) Eaton, second from left, holding my Grandfather when he was a baby (Daniel Hewson Eaton), born 1904. They helped to build the Canadian Transcontinental Railroad from North Bay to James Bay.
Saturday, December 3, 2011 “JGPF, Blog”
I am going to be surrounded by my “Idols” this coming week while I am at the GPF.
I live in an apartment complex where Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje live. I see them during our daily practices and also when we all get together to go out to eat, or just hang out. I also see Nathalie and Fabian at the rink, but this is the first time I will be able to see them compete in person. Meryl and Charlie train in Canton, but they come to DSC on occassion for skate sharpening at Fred’s or when they do an exhibition at the Club. Several years ago, Charlie broke his ankle playing hockey, so he is always checking with me to see how I’m doing with my ankle issue. Meryl and him are phenomenal. Charlie’s father is on the Board of Directors at Detroit Skating Club which has a scholarship program that offsets some of my training expenses. Maia and Alex are here also, so four out of the six teams are all my favorites. I have known Alex and Maia since competing against them in Juvenile Dance, 2004 and Intermediate Dance, 2005. I was hurt in 2006 and did not skate much for two years while waiting for my left ankle to heal from the Donor Cadaver Transplant Surgery. Whenever Alex’s and Maia’s Mom and Dad saw either me or my parents they alway checked on how my recovery period was going, I will always be grateful to them for their concern.
Alex and I are very lucky to train with so many amazing Senior Teams like Nathalie & Fabian, Kaitlyn & Andrew, Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, Anastasia Olson & Jordan Cowan, and Danielle O’Brien & Gregory Merriman, Austrialia. They bring a real international flare to our training camp with some very unique elements.
Pictures below are of all of the Ice Dancers from Detroit Skating Club from Novice up to Senior level and the ice dance teams competing at the Grand Prix Final. Enjoy! If you want to see some other skaters that we skate with at DSC, please go to the photo tab and look at DSC practice pictures.
Until next time, have a great day. Daniel and Alex